Monday, June 12, 2023

PNW Roadtrip Travelogue Part One; nature (mostly)

Whereas most folks were winding up their long-weekend summer kick-off celebration on Memorial Day, Andrew and I were just getting started. We hit the road Monday morning, our final destination for the week-long adventure was Spokane—I was giving a talk for The Inland Empire Gardeners and it was a chance to see family. We took the long way up with multiple fishing stops along the way.

Our first stop was along the Grand Ronde River just outside of LaGrande, Oregon, where we spent the first night. I sat at a similar picnic-table and read while Andrew fished, it was an incredibly beautiful spot.

Up and at 'em the next morning, this stop was along the Wallowa River, still in Eastern Oregon.

This was such a bizarre rock!

I found this small vertebrae and couldn't help but hear...

Mr. Bill

Sadly it was the butterflies that should have really been screaming "oh no!" They were flying low over a busy roadway, attracted to the wildflowers growing along the river. I rescued a few who were stunned by the wind of passing cars. Others were not so lucky.

Out next stop was to survey the incredible Hells Canyon vista at the Nez Perce Historical Park just south of the twin cities of Clarkston, WA and Lewiston, ID. We were standing in Washington when I took this shot, but looking out into Idaho.

"Where else can you ride the rapids of the Snake River and prick your finger on a cactus..." (you know they had me at cactus)

Sadly I didn't see any cactus but I do love me some lupine foliage.

I also love surveying the many verbascum that grow in the wilds of the PNW. I'm not familiar with this one, but it was growing thick when we stopped for Andrew to check out the creek access.

Rocks with lichen are also pretty amazing.

Well that's certainly a nice rock wall...

Naturally, there were verbascum here too.

There's my fisherman.

Looking up...

I think this is a cute little patch of Selaginella wallacei with a small sedum growing within and flowering.

Driving into Clarkston (where we would be spending the second night), Andrew spotted a group of large white birds...


A nice dinner and a glass of wine (or two) on the hotel patio was exactly what we needed.

Our after-dinner walk...

Now we're in Spokane, Andrew is down there on the Spokane River fishing, and I am up on the Centennial Trail (I left him and went to explore a nursery).

If you look dead center on this photo there's a small image along the lower bank of the river, just to the left of the tall conifer, that's Andrew—he got a nice fish on the river that day. 

After I snapped that photo I spotted this cute little succulent.

Their yellow blooms were like flags waving.

Downtown Spokane now, parking for lunch. Back in the day we both worked just a couple blocks from this building, but I don't remember ever noticing the gargoyles!

Here's my last scenic shot, we're headed home now along the Columbia River and entering windmill country. 

Come back on Wednesday for a look at the domesticated plants from this trip; gardens, nurseries and a haul photo!
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  1. With the exception of the Kamikazi butterflies, that sounds like a perfect trip - for both you and Andrew. Thanks for sharing the beautiful scenery. Please tell me that you took Mr Bill home with you...

    1. Oh yes, Mr Bill is on my desk! It was a great trip, with perfect weather.

  2. AnonymousJune 12, 2023

    Love the Selaginella wallacei. Mmmmmm, I wonder where if I could find this for sale?

  3. Great scenery and rocks. Had no idea that cars did that to butterflies.

    1. It was pretty sad, there were so many butterflies though, not all of them were hit or stunned.

  4. AnonymousJune 12, 2023

    The Wallowas are magical, especially the high country. I backpacked up there a few times and it was unforgettable. Lakes Basin and Ice Lake were full of postcard views.
    Jim N. Tabor

    1. I was thrilled to get as close as we did, gorgeous land.

  5. Looks like you both had a lovely trip. Pelicans are so cool. We see them here in the Spring and Fall flying to and fro from breeding grounds. That little Selaginella looks so much like a baby spruce. Very cool.

    1. Their beaks are so huge, stunning creatures.

  6. AnonymousJune 13, 2023

    The "bizarre rock" would have made a fun pocket planter for a small succulent!

    1. I briefly considered trying to lug it to the car, but decided to leave it where it was.

  7. I love going to see new places, especially scenic mountain vistas. So many cool plants. And pelicans of all things! Not what I expected in that part of the state.


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